How to Set Up a Budget
Then, for now, you can assign 50% of the budget to the reception location and dinner unless your rich restaurateur uncle plans to give those items to you for free. Then look at what is left and decide which items are a priority to you and assign 10% of the budget. To some, this might be a wedding planner to others it is the music, flowers, photography or something else. Remember you only have 50% to work with so you cannot have more than 5 priorities and dont forget to leave some money for the less important items. If you only have 3 priorities you will still have 20% left for the miscellaneous items.
Once you have a budget you can go to the service providers with the knowledge of what you have to spend on a particular product or service. I was asked on Inside Edition if the vendors were to blame for the budget busting. I replied by saying, that if a couple does not go into a meeting with a chef or a floral designer or a dress designer equipped with a budget in mind, the natural instinct of an artist, who is also a service provider, will be to offer his or her masterpiece, which is naturally the best and most expensive. We all strive for excellence; however, a small budget does not make a wedding any less special. If anything, it can make it more meaningful, because couples are forced to be more creative, and they tend to lean more on their close friends and relatives, which is often quite sentimental.
If your planning is being driven by your budget do not allow yourself to be steered otherwise. The service providers will naturally ask you what you want and what you like but be careful because what you love may not fit the budget. If you are worried about money you must always come back to that and communicate it to all of your service providers by saying, I love tulips but only if they are available within my budget.
You will probably want to start with the wedding reception site and the caterer if it is different from the site. With a budget of $28,000 you know you cannot go over $14,000 for the whole reception location and banquet. You will only want to entertain the thought of reception facilities that you can afford with this budget and when you meet with them you will ask them what menus they can offer within this budget including everything. Be sure they are including food, beverage, service, rentals if any, tax and gratuity. You do not want any surprises so you must be clear about wanting the bottom line within your budget. I would also suggest asking them for a proposal a little under the amount you plan to spend so you have a little wiggle room.
Now, if the wedding site does not offer the food and service you will want to find out the site fee and subtract it from the reception allotment and go from there. Remember also that if you are choosing a bare site such as a field, barn or garden you will have to add rentals to the site line item. You may have to pay $5,000 for the use of the private property and then pay another $6,000 in renting a tent, tables, chairs, linens, dishes etc. This is why tent weddings are not always less expensive. They are really only a deal when you use your own property and if you can find a reasonably priced catering option.
As you gather prices you will adjust the budget. You might get the reception for $10,000 so then you have $4,000 in the kitty to use somewhere else. Remember if you spend more than planned on one line item you have to adjust the budget somewhere to accommodate the change.
Next you will want to find the service providers that will supply your priorities and assign a number to those line items. Then you will see what you have left for the items that are not as important to you or you may find that you will have to cut back on the guest list.
As you identify and contract service providers, you will want to enter in all of their contact information right onto the budget so that it is all at your fingertips. Once you have contracted all of the service providers you will want to send a version of the budget minus the figures to your officiate and banquet manager so that they know who they will be working with. Actually you may even decide to send it to the photographer, videographer, and the music director or MC so they also know what to expect.
If you are still not sure if you can tackle this on your own you can enlist the help of a wedding consultant and/or a financial planner who is familiar with the cost of the necessary wedding services. Although it is ideal to plan a wedding within your immediate means it is possible to get a wedding loan, a home equity loan or funding through your 401k or possibly your life insurance policy.Www.AmericanExpress.com offers a list of financial planners nationwide as well as information on wedding financing and budgeting tips.
One item I will caution you on is that destination weddings have often been promoted as being a way to save money. That is possible, but only if:
Remember, five star hotels cater to the wealthy and charge the same high rates all over the world even in developing nations. You cannot expect to have a wedding for 100 for $15,000 in a five-star hotel unless you dont want music, flowers and any of the other niceties that are associated with weddings.
Once you set up the budget implementing the 5 rules, take a look at each line item and figure out ways to save money buy making things yourself or with the help of the wedding party, borrowing things from friends, family and community organizations that you may belong to and try to double up uses wherever you can, such as décor and favors can serve two purposes. For more ideas and advice go to www.DestinationBride.com.
Before we get off of the subject of budgets, I want to mention that I usually make a micro-budget that outlines the décor expenses. The décor is the most complicated segment of the budget, therefore, I find it necessary to have an itemized list of what everything will cost including flowers, lighting, linens, china, utensils, and props. Then once the décor budget is approved, I record the bottom line on the overall wedding budget. Make sense?